Jenny Winston diary: Offseason transition

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Jenny and Eric Winston participated in an episode of ABC's "Extreme Home Makeover" in Kemah recently.

EDITOR'S NOTE:

. She provides periodic diary entries on a range of topics to give fans a woman's perspective on the NFL and life off the field.*

When the football season finally comes to an end each year, it is always bittersweet. On one hand, you wish the season would keep going because it is always extra exciting down the stretch. As a Texans fan, we all know that we are notorious for playing our best football in December. On the other hand, with the season being over, it is nice as an NFL wife to have your husband actually around on the weekends for a change!

It is definitely bittersweet for Eric, also. He misses playing in big games and hanging around with the guys everyday at Reliant Stadium. But at the same time, the offseason allows him the time to relax his tired body as well as resume some of his manly duties around the house that he was excused from during the season. I am really looking forward to "fining" him if the trash isn't taken out or the laundry's not folded! =)

The sudden end of long meetings, strenuous practices and exciting games sets off a huge chain reaction for the players. Can you imagine waking up one morning after being totally consumed with your job for 6 months with nothing to do? That's essentially what happens to most of the players when the season is over! These guys are so used to such a strict and rigid schedule that it can be hard to adapt to life outside of Reliant Stadium. I hope my husband appreciates the effort I put in to reintroduce him to the lovely realities of life in the real world!

There is always an adjustment at the Winston household at first before Eric finds a new routine in which to keep himself occupied. It's a little like training a new puppy, I imagine: At first, you have to make sure he's fed at least twice a day, make sure he takes naps and even take him for a walk every once in a while so he can get his exercise. It takes about 2 weeks of constant care and guidance until he is ready to get up in the morning and have a productive day on his own.

Last year, it was mastering the world famous video game called "Halo." This year, it is "Call of Duty." I used to think that my husband played more XBox than any other human being in the first few weeks of January until I ventured up to his "man cave" to find him on a headset talking with about 8 of his Texans teammates. It was strange at first, but I understand now that this is a very natural, gradual transition from stadium life to home life. This is how the guys can still feel like they are on a team with one another in the comfort of their own recliners. Knowing that their teammates are only a headset away is a very important step, especially at the start of their hiatus. Haha!


All joking aside, it is nice for Eric to have a break from the fast-paced season to spend time doing activities that don't involve football. The coaches usually advise the players to try to take a break from football to alleviate some of the stress that the season can bring.

I would say that NFL families celebrate "winter vacation" in January, instead of summer vacation in July (the guys start training camp in July). It is during this time that we try to take the majority of our long weekend trips to visit with family and friends that we don't get to see during the fall. But it is truly amazing that no matter where we are, or what we're doing, Eric is sure to never be more than a few clicks away from ProFootballTalk.com. Maybe someday he'll follow his coaches' instructions! =)

Another great thing about having some time off the field is that it gives the players more time to become involved in the community. I know my husband really enjoys contributing his free time to help important organizations around Houston. Last week, he attended an event in Sugarland to benefit former Texans player Scott Jackson's foundation called Tackling Autism (tacklingautism.org).

Also, Eric and I both were able to attend the filming of an episode of "Extreme Home Makeover" in Galveston last week. Being able to get involved in events like this really brings us a lot of joy because we get to spend time with the people that are really making a difference in our area. We hope to attend many more events of this kind during this offseason!

Thanks for taking the time to read my diary! Please e-mail me with any questions or comments! Until next time...GO TEXANS!!=)

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To ask Jenny a question, click[here](mailto:gotexans@houstontexans.com?subject=Question for Jenny Winston).

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